Online training can be a very useful tool for developing talent. However, it can also end up being a waste of time and resources, even if the content and presentation are good. The difference between effective and ineffective training often comes down to whether employees are able to absorb and retain the information they receive.
There are plenty of obstacles to information absorption and retention. For example, busy employees may listen to a webinar while they work on other things, catching only bits and pieces of the content. Alternatively, they may put a training video off until they’ve finished a project and are too exhausted to give it due attention.
To avoid these training pitfalls, we’ve put together a list of tips to make your online training successful long-term.
1. Follow the AGES Model
The NeuroLeadership Institute argues that we learn quickly and retain information best when the following four elements are all in effect:
- Attention – Focusing on one topic
- Generation – Actively connecting what we learn to what we already know
- Emotion – Experiencing positive feelings while learning
- Spacing – Allowing adequate space in our intake of information
For example, cramming training on multiple topics into a tight two-day workshop would probably not be very effective. On the other hand, spreading that training out over a few weeks would likely lead to much better retention.
2. Give employees time to reflect and practice the skills they’ve learned.
In some professions, like music and athletics, you spend most of your work time learning, building, and reinforcing skills leading up to a big performance. Good performance requires constant practice.
Unfortunately, in most professions, practice often feels like a luxury we can’t afford because employees are expected to be performing during their work time.
This is one reason training fails to deliver results. To master new skills, employees need time to focus on building those skills. That means they will need to be able to set aside some work time post-training to reflect on and practice what they’ve learned.
3. Align training with the present needs and future goals of both the company and the employee.
Finally, re-evaluate your employee training goals. Consider not only what additional knowledge and skills would enable them to do their jobs better now. Additionaly, think about what will set them up for success in their future careers.
Employees are more likely to be excited by and personally invested in their training if they understand their personal return on that investment. If they don’t recognize its value, it won’t have any value to them.
We hope you find these tips helpful for your own employee training program! If you’re looking to build your own online training program, ask about our Learning Management System. There, you’ll find a full library of trainings, analytics, and easy administration.
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